Cambodia is gearing up to host the ASEAN 12th Para Games 2023 on June 3, and the Cambodian sitting paralympics team is expressing confidence in their ability to retain their gold medals in the sitting paralympics event.

The team has been training tirelessly for over a year, and their previous success in winning the gold at the ASEAN 11th Para Games 2022 in Indonesia has boosted their optimism.

Sang Veasna, former head of the Cambodian sitting volleyball team and a spiker on the team, has made a comeback. Additionally, new players have been included in the ASEAN Para Games for the sitting volleyball team, which has further increased their expectations of success.

“During our competition in Indonesia and the training for the ASEAN Para Games hosted by Indonesia, I noticed our team played stronger than the Indonesian team. This time, we have some young spikers on the team,” said Captain Ou Phalla.

Phalla also mentioned Veasna’s previous absence due to illness, but his return has strengthened the team, providing them with four spikers. With higher expectations as the host country, they have set their sights on becoming gold medalists.

Phalla emphasised the team’s rigorous training and their determination to defend their gold medals. He acknowledged the challenge of facing other strong teams but assured they are prepared to give their best performance. Cambodia’s level of play is not yet known, but their commitment and hard work are unwavering.

In the ASEAN 11th Para Games 2022 in Indonesia, the Cambodian sitting volleyball team showcased their skills by defeating the teams from the Philippines and Myanmar to secure the top position in Pool B. They then faced the second-ranked Indonesian team in Pool A, emerging victorious with a score of 3-2. In the finals, they triumphed over the Thai team with a score of 3-1, clinching the gold medals in a thrilling manner.

Hun Many, head of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) and also head of the Cambodian athletic delegates, fondly recalled the team’s victory over the Thai team, particularly their impressive performance in the last third set, winning with a score of 25-22. The victory left a lasting impression on everyone, filling them with joy and excitement.

However, as the Cambodian team met with Many on the morning of May 29 at The Kampus business park, he reminded them of the importance of defending their gold medals. Many expressed his belief the Thai team is determined to defeat Cambodia this time.

Phalla emphasised the significance of teamwork, stressing the need for cooperation and tempo. He highlighted the team’s efforts to strengthen their unity and work together to secure victory.

“We have understood each other’s hearts 80 to 90 per cent. Although we are the sitting paralympic volleyball team, we will do something wonderful, not disappointing our compatriots.

“Our matches will be tough as many strong teams are competing. So I urge everyone to pay attention to the matches to witness our outstanding performance,” Phalla said.